30 December 2010 | Report

Gender-related Obstacles to Vietnamese Women Entrepreneurs


The Gender Related Obstacles to Vietnamese Women Entrepreneurs report analyses the traditional, regulatory, and internal gender-based obstacles that influence Vietnamese women entrepreneurs in starting and running their businesses and provides policy implications for promoting women’s entrepreneurship and gender equality in Vietnam.

In recent years, the Vietnamese government has focused efforts on tapping on women’s potential by improving the regulatory business environment and implementing the Law on Gender Equality, Law on Investment and Law on Enterprises as well as other Decrees in support of female entrepreneurship. The aim of reforms is to level the playing field in order to draw on female entrepreneurship as an engine of economic growth and social development.

However, women entrepreneurs in Vietnam live under two social settings: Traditional values that support the subordination of women and socialist ideals of the equality of citizens before the law. This report explores the questions of:

  • How do women entrepreneurs perceive the impact of policy reforms and prevailing traditions on their entrepreneurial situations and initiatives?
  • And what are the implications for policy makers and private sector associations?


  • Vietnamese female entrepreneurs seem to be more bound to tradition than men. Women tend to consult their families for important business decisions, consider heavy family responsibilities as impediments to business start-up, and generally feel that their gender made it more difficult for them to start and continue a business.
  • Specifically, female owners of Joint Stock Companies as well as owners of enterprises that are involved in multi-sectoral businesses found that their gender made it more difficult to start enterprises as compared to the rest of entrepreneurs surveyed. Age was not deemed as a factor hindering business startup.
  • No gender-based difference exists between men and women in terms of ownership of vehicle, building and bank account. Significant but weak gender-based differences exist in terms of registered land ownership and savings. Most of the entrepreneurs used own capital or asked for financial support from family and friends in order to start businesses.
  • Male entrepreneurs are on average more highly educated than female entrepreneurs. Men also have more confidence in the adequacy of their education and skills to start a business, have more plans to expand businesses and are more willing to take investment risks than female entrepreneurs.
  • The research did not find any significant difference in perceived gender-based bias of male and female entrepreneurs in getting collateral, entering networks, acquiring new contracts, employing workers and dealing with authorities.
  • Fewer women than men worked longer than 12 hours (paid work) for their enterprise and the difference in paid working hours across time categories was not significant. The study revealed however that women invest consequently fewer working hours once the number of children goes beyond two.


  • Acknowledgements
  • Abbreviations
  • List of tables
  • List of figures
  • List of annex tables
  • Executive summary
  • Introduction
  • Theoretical perspective of the study
    • Framework for Institutional Analysis of Vietnamese female entrepreneurship
    • Women’s internal perceptions (attributes of the entrepreneur herself)
    • The World Bank’s Doing Business and the Economics of Institutions
  • Vietnamese tradition, laws and female entrepreneurship
    • Vietnamese Tradition
    • Vietnamese Laws affecting women’s business environment
    • Development of female Equality and Entrepreneurship in Vietnam
  • Methodology
    • Selection of Research areas
    • Sampling procedure
    • Data-gathering and analysis
  • Overview of results
    • General Description of survey respondents
    • Starting a business for Vietnamese women
    • Running a business for Vietnamese women
    • Doing Business and respondent’s policy suggestions
    • Assessment of Laws and Decrees
  • Conclusions, Policy Implications and Further Study
    • Conclusions
    • Policy Implications
    • Study Limitations and Suggestions for further study
  • References
  • Annex tables

Download Resources Here

View other Resources